Grab Grabs Digital Payment Startup iKaaz

Grab, the Southeast Asia ridesharing company, has inked a deal to acquire iKaaz, the mobile payment startup hailing from India.

According to news from TechCrunch, under the deal, the engineering team of iKaaz will join Grab’s engineering office in Bangalore, which opened in 2017. Specific terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The FinTech startup iKaaz, which was founded in 2012, has a cloud-based platform for online merchants, point-of-sale hardware for retailers and a mobile wallet for customers who want to make digital payments. Once the deal between the two companies is complete, the mobile wallet, dubbed MOWA, will be the only service that is not discontinued.

“The existing MOWA wallet that serves the India market will continue as a separate company with its own leadership and staffing. iKaaz’s existing client-facing business will be separated into a separate entity, which will continue to support its merchant and bank contracts in India,” a Grab spokesperson told the newswire.

TechCrunch speculated that with the acquisition, Grab will likely tap iKaaz’s product knowledge to expand its GrabPay service, which it started developing in 2016. Last year, Grab purchased Kudo, an Indonesian startup, for $100 million to expand its network offline. GrabPay was made available to Singapore merchants in November with plans to expand the service in Malaysia, Indonesia and other areas in Southeast Asia.

The acquisition comes as Grab is in growth mode, with a report surfacing this past summer that it’s looking to raise $1 billion in venture capital funding. According to a report at the time, Alibaba Founder Jack Ma could team up with SoftBank to jointly invest $1.5 billion in Grab through his eCommerce company or Ant Financial, the financial arm of the enterprise. With the backing, the investors are hoping the ridesharing company can better compete against Uber Technologies in Southeast Asia. Didi Chuxing, the leading carsharing company in China, is already an investor in Grab and is also mulling participating in the latest venture capital round.



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